Friday, September 27, 2013

Prayer, Faith, and the LORD's Fast

by Gregory A. Johnson

Prayer, Faith, and the LORD's Fast, by Gregory A. Johnson

Some people think that faith is believing that God will do what you want him to do—if you pray and believe, God will act in the way you want him to act on behalf of your situation or circumstance. They have been taught that if you mix some fasting with praying and believing, you can really get God’s attention, and he will do more of what you want him to do.

With this type of thinking, glory is given to the individual who can supposedly move God into action. A true move of God will be in such a way that only God receives the glory.

Faith is believing that God will keep his word, doing what is right because he is in control and loves his children. It is in prayer where we receive more of his grace and mercy in our time of need as we release all of our worries and anxieties to him. Our human nature tries to hold on to them, but his nature is to take them all if we just release them to him.

Fasting changes us and not God as we lay aside the substance of our continued existence and seek him, utilizing our resources to further his kingdom, making it known through our words and actions. Listen to the voice of the Lord in Isaiah as he defines the fast that he chooses and the blessings that follow.

This is the LORD’s fast:
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.'
If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. 
And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail” (Isaiah 58:6-11 ESV).
Throughout the process, no matter how uncomfortable, God is molding and shaping us. We find out that his grace is truly sufficient, his mercy is new every morning, and his timing is perfect.

Beloved, pray, believing that God will do what he has declared in his word. Release all of your worries and anxieties to him, receiving his grace and mercy in your time of need. Fast as you are led by the Spirit, utilizing your resources to further the kingdom. Be prepared and ready to receive the abundant blessings of God.

Know that you are loved,